Woke up, put clothes on, didn't go to work.

Dawn responded to my anti-right-wing comment. Since I don't like when other people generalize about liberal beliefs, I figured it was only fair to print her responses to my generalizations, and a follow up. (Note: Her blog is worth reading today just for the Eternal Sunshine story - that's pretty amazing!)

DAWN: "I just read your blog. Coincidentally, I volunteered yesterday morning too, partly because I thought volunteers would be more needed on a holiday weekend. I know what you mean in that many right-wingers seem to err on the side of harshness with regard to the poor. However, I don't think it's right to write off a whole group of people as heartless because they have conservative beliefs.

Only a tiny percentage of people volunteer, period. Lefties may claim to care about the poor, but all that apparent concern doesn't add up to much if they don't act on it and give of themselves when they can.
Rather than distinguishing between conservatives and liberals, saying conservatives are heartless and liberals care, I think it's better to simply point out the importance of actually doing something for those less fortunate, regardless of what philosophy one proclaims."

MY RESPONSE: "I agree. The point wasn't that I volunteered, though. The point was that a typical right-wing argument is that if you help people, there's no 'incentive for them to work hard.' This is such a ridiculous argument because obviously the incentive to work hard is that you can afford good things and not have to eat in a soup kitchen or live according to other people's will."

DAWN: "I know the volunteer thing wasn't your point, but I think that's a gross oversimplification of right-wing arguments. Sure, there are ultraconservatives, or libertarians like [names bleeped], who don't believe the government should give any humanitarian aid. But most conservatives would agree that the poor, or at least the very poor, should receive some sort of help. They just believe it should be as part of programs that give them an incentive to work, and not mere handouts--save for things like disaster and emergency aid. It's better for charities to be in the business of handouts and government to be in the business of getting people on their feet."

Well, that was some donated food for thought.

I also meant a few days ago to print Jon K. the Writer's responses to one of my entries, but I didn't get around to it. So until I do, check out his writing at www.rumored.com.


Woke up, put clothes on, didn't go to work.


I just realized something funny about one of the Amazon reviews of my 2nd book. Read this sentence carefully:

There's a lot to like in this appealing novel about a young window getting back into the social swing.

I guess I wanted to write about pane.

"Fascination" by the Human League just came on the radio. It reminds me of a summer in the '80s when the song was on the bus radio as I was being taken to a new day camp for the first time, looking around at all the kids. I think I could hear any song from the early '80s and have some sort of short (and probably mundane) memory of where I was when I was listening to it. I imagine I'm not alone.
Woke up, put on clothes, didn't go to work.

Conversation I heard at a New York City street fair:

MAN: What language are you speaking?
BEARDED VENDOR: Hebrew. I'm Jewish.
MAN: You look like Allah.
BEARDED VENDOR: I'm not fucking Allah.

This morning I volunteered at a pretty well-run soup kitchen in NY for a few hours. They need more people on a holiday weekend, esp. at the end of the month when gov't checks run out and people are hungrier. My job was to stand by the door and help give away some extra food that had been donated. Doing this, I clearly saw the right-wing side of things -- I mean, what's the incentive for anyone to work when they can take home three cans of sardines, a bottle of no-frills apple juice, and powdered milk without even lifting a finger?! What are we trying to do, make everything equal? (Note: Heavy sarcasm at work.)


We are having quite the thunderstorm outside now. Looks like flash flooding should be expected.

I listed below the location of the June 15 reading.

I originally thought the streaking-at-the-carhop scene was in American Graffiti, because that's what someone told me a few days ago, but I watched the movie and didn't see it. That's why I'm trying to figure out which movie it was in. (It's for something I'm writing, that I'll tell you about when it comes out.)

Crack-crack-crack. Mother Nature is angry tonight. Laws, yes.


Today I got the best subject head I ever got from someone who liked Carrie Pilby:

SUBJ: just your run of the mill ego enlarging fan letter

In other news, as predicted, Anonymous responded to my post about women being called 'crazy.' Then he took it down after women didn't find it funny.
I tend to be the least intellectual person in the room. The other day, I took a walking tour of Dorothy Parker's old haunts, and afterwards there was a small lunch at the Algonquin. Some people were talking about Dorothy's friends hanging out in speakeasies, and several people said that Prohibition was the dumbest thing ever.

"That's how the mob made their money," one woman said.
"And the Kennedys," said another.
"And Bo and Luke Duke," I added.
Eleven of the twelve people just stared at me. The twelfth laughed.

You know what? The other 11 were just damn culturally illiterate.


Here is a short Talk of the Town piece on bloggers getting book deals.
Woke up, put clothes on. Went to see Kurt Vonnegut give a speech in PA. (For real this time; it wasn't just some columnist writing something that was attributed to Kurt.) We got a good rental car for the trip.


Woke up, got dressed, didn't go to work.

A few random thoughts or experiences I had today...

1. How come, with all the advances in computing, no one has come up with a way to unsend an e-mail? AOL lets you do it with mail to other AOL accounts (and thank God, considering the ones I've had second thoughts about...). A friend of mine who was a programmer explained why to me a few years ago, but it still seems to me that they could create kind of a rubberband that allows you to yank your e-mail back if you decide to unsend it.

2. Whenever I think I see someone famous in NY, I always doubt myself because it seems to me that if someone were really famous, they would not be in the same geographic square as me.

3. Whenever a man tells me that his ex-girlfriend, or any woman, is crazy, it generally just means she liked him more than he liked her. I never hear women saying their boyfriends or ex-boyfriends are crazy unless the men out-and-out stalked them or threatened them with violence. But I hear from guys about "crazy" women all the time. If a woman is "crazy" doesn't that just mean she got very emotional about something (like a breakup?) Even if it's Alanis Morisette-grade emotional, does that mean you're "crazy"?

(I'm sure I'll hear it from both the Anonymous Blogger AND the Blogette on this one.)

4. If you take the Monorail from Newark Airport out to the new Amtrak/NJ Transit train stop to Penn Station, and you look out the window, you can see the men in the state prison playing basketball outside.

5. Today I saw a fat girl wearing a t-shirt that said, across her breasts, "Hey, I'm up HERE!" with an arrow pointing to her head. An hour later, I saw a boy in a gray shirt that said, "Stop reading my shirt." I liked that one better.

6. I think that's all the clutter in my mind right now. Thank you.


Woke up, got dressed, didn't go to work. Yesterday was similar in that I woke up and got dressed, but on that day I did go to work.


Woke up, put clothes on, went to work.

Ditto for yesterday.

A lot of people misuse the word "enormity." It means extreme evil. It doesn't just mean enormousness (although my dictionary says that's an informal usage). So try not to say, "I can't even begin to describe the enormity of my feelings for you, Buck." Unless you really mean it.

I have a feeling that even the people who've used it to describe 9/11 don't know what it means, but luckily it works in context anyway.


I got this junk e-mail today. I wish there weren't so many of these...it's going to give guys a complex.

>>Subject: Small Small Little Dicky?? LoL orders exodus
Date: Tue, 18 May 2004 05:30:04 -0400
Increase the length of your DICCKY by 2-5 full inches
Thicken ur DICCKY and make it much fuller & harder

Here is what you can expect from taking [PILL]:

WEEK 1-3: Your DICCKY will experience greater and longer lasting erec--tion and a noticeable increase in thickness
WEEK 4-8: Your DICCKY will have grown in lenngth
WEEK 9+: Your DICCKY will have taken on a new body, not just longer and thicker, but much harder & healthier

Booost ur confidennce level & selff-esteem
Screw ur lover like never before

Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Did same thing yesterday.


Woke up, put on clothes, didn't go to work, did some novel writing. (Well, really revising. Do I actually write anymore?)

The reading I'm participating in on Tuesday, June 15 involves summer camp stories. It should be fun. Other writers participating are Jeff Somers, who writes short stories, wrote a novel called Lifers, and has a really funny and self-referential zine; Jackie Corley, whose on-line lit mag and publishing efforts are doing wonders for up-and-coming writers, and it's hosted by young writer Ned Vizzini, who happens to have garnered a positive "Books In Brief" review of his novel Be More Chill in the NY Times today.

I was lucky enough to hear a panel of non-fiction writers from my alma mater yesterday as part of alumni activities, people who I really admire whose journalistic efforts have made lives better, so it was a good writerly weekend.

Oh, on another note, my psychic powers predict a final run for The Gipper very very soon. Enough on that.


Woke up, put clothes on, went to work.

Howard Stern was funny today (I'm one of the people who started listening again now that he's pissed off at Bush). He was setting up a "family feud" this morning with a gay-hating family vs. as he put it, "actual gay people." The gay-hating family is protesting a play about Matthew Shepard. A girl in the family said, "He was trolling in bars for sex." Artie Lange responded, "Everyone who's heterosexual does that."


This country's politics are becoming increasingly hostile, which is good because it means people care. It's also frustrating that people can be so far apart on such visceral issues. I can undestand why, though -- lives are at stake. Those who really believe abortion is murder can't just sit by and allow it. Those who believe people aren't getting proper health care can't sit by and allow it, either. Those who think stem cell research saves lives can't just allow it to be blocked. Those who don't want to see their sons sent to war... Marriage is a centuries old tradition that some feel must be modified and others feel is threatened. Howard Stern is being bleeped. Out here in the Northeast, most people I meet tacitly assume that there are no Bush supporters in the room. Often, it's true. We almost forget how the rest of the country feels about issues like gay marriage until we leave our comfortable confines.

I have a simple solution. Let's just break the country in two. Bush can have his half and Kerry can have his half. The Bush half can listen to Bill O'Reilly in the morning. I could go on with this, but I have work to do.

Bored? Want to have an interesting argument? Join the fray over a controversial bumper sticker...
This is the pullquote from an article I just edited for the paper:

"What is the mission? It's got to be more than getting up in the morning and going to work and going to bed."

Yes, you also can put clothes on.


This is fun! Put your speakers on. Thanks for trivia-playing Eric for passing this along.
We are just chock full o' thunderstorms this week.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.


Here's a pretty extensive article on chick-lit in Newsday. Thanks to DZ for passing it along.


Woke up, put clothes on, went to work.

The screenplay is now on its way to an agent. Who will probably have MORE suggested revisions, and then I will revise, and...well, revising is important. And long.
I have elicited a larger than normal response with my comment about the term 'geographically undesirable.' Apparently, more than a few people feel that they have been rejected based on this qualification, especially via internet dating. So there are actually people who haven't met someone in the course of their normal personal lives, so they get on the internet to look, but they are still going to set severe geographical restraints on the potential love of his/her life? Stupid, stupid, stupid! What's next, rejecting people on 646 vs. 212?
Here's what the Australian version of Starting from Square Two looks like.


Woke up, put on clothes, didn't go to work.

Lori sent out an e-mail with this great website address, which is actually NOT pornographic and not what you think: www.nice-t*ts.org. Put an "i" in between the two t's; I can't write the word out because then people Googling for porn will keep finding my blog, and that's really annoying. (To them, or to me? Both.)

I got the third reader e-mail in a row from a reader who just read and really liked Pilby. She read it on vacation. Lots of people must be on vacations now or something, or just graduated from college. Before this weekend, I hadn't gotten an e-mail about Pilby in a few weeks.

I mentioned on this blog in October that many people don't get the time to do write thank-you letters. I've tried to make time to do that in a few cases, but not always. Last month, I finally had the time to sit down and write to a screenwriter whose films I've long admired, telling him my favorite lines. Those lines have meant a lot to me. The guy has been honored for decades for his work, but I still felt like chiming in anyway. He actually wrote back, something I wasn't expecting:

"Dear C.M. Lissner, Of all the beautiful words that have been written about [movie], your letter is one of the most rewarding to me. I thank you over and over again for your flattering comments." I don't know if mine was really one of the most rewarding, but I'm glad to have expressed my admiration. His movies have made ME happy.

(I felt so weird about writing a fan letter to someone famous that I actually just used my initials. I never said I was normal.)


Woke up, put on clothes, didn't go to work.

I got two very nice reader e-mails in response to my books last night, within a two-hour period. I wonder if it's reading days at college. You should be reading your textbooks! No, actually, read my books. ;)


The reading scheduled for June 15 will have a theme: Summer camp stories. More info to come.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

I missed the Friends finale. I have trouble stomaching shows where the characters are all cute. It's like Night Court. Everyone started trying to be too cute. Spin City got a little like that with a City Hall full of people who looked like models. Bleah.

Which show had the worst-looking cast? I'd have to say Roseanne. No one was good-looking on that show. And it was fine.

Then there are shows where all the kids are good-looking, like Home Improvement and The Hogan Family. I can handle that, for some reason. I just can't take a gaggle of cute adults.


I realized that all three of the readers who will be reading June 15 hail from New Jersey - it's a Geographically Undesirable reading! Yay!! But it will be in one of the five boroughs, I assure you.
BLOGJAM: When you've read so many blogs that you've run out of decent blogs to read.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

I'm participating in a reading on June 15 in NY with some really great writers! I'm honored. More details to come.

I don't always agree with Dawn, but her entry today points out something that seems a little weird. "Planned Parenthood is hellbent on teaching underage schoolkids that sex is as natural as breathing and should take even less thought," she writes. Take a look at the polychromatic innuendo-laden school supplies!


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Last night was fun team trivia (which takes place every Tuesday night at the Baggott Inn in the Village). People seemed to enjoy one of my general knowledge questions: "What element makes up 83 percent of the atmosphere around Uranus?"

On another note...In the 1990s, I used to read New York Press a lot, especially for columnists like Jonathan Ames and Amy Sohn. There started being occasional dispatches by a nerdy, self-deprecating bright kid who was a teenager at Stuyvesant H.S. They were pretty funny and amazingly perceptive for a teenager, so I always looked forward to them. Then when authors started getting websites, I put in different names of authors I liked, including his. A book of his essays had been published, and he had a pretty good website about it (since his first love had actually been computers more than writing). I sent an e-mail saying congrats and that I'd liked his New York Press stuff for a long time, and he was kind enough to write back. Then he sold a novel about a nerdy kid who takes a pill that tells him the right things to say to be popular in high school. I read an advance copy and it was really good - funny, perceptive, not too full of itself. The amazing thing is that while he's only 23, he manages to keep himself grounded. He's fairly savvy about pubishing and the perks and drawbacks. The novel, Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini, is coming out in June, and here's a really good interview with him on Wordriot.org, a literary mag/website edited by another amazingly perceptive young writer. I'm glad there'll be good things to read this summer.


Furthering my New-York-snobism comments, some people have heard this phrase "geographically undesirable," which means someone who you won't date because you'd have to actually take a subway or train ride to see them. That's a good condition to put on finding the love of your life -- if you can't walk to their house, they're out of the game. Are these people stupid? Well, I haven't ever heard anyone I'm friends with use that term, but it's sad it even exists.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Sarah's blog has a great list of "How To Tell You've Been In New York City Too Long." Numbers 2, 3, 7, and 13 are true of many people. Sadly, New Yorkers pride themselves on how cultured they are, yet can't seem to leave their part of Manhattan. Grow up and stop being a provincial snob.

Thanks for the Pilby plug, by the way, Sarah. My pub co is going to be sending it out to bookstores again for the summer.


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

My Amazon ranking for Carrie Pilby went way up. Did you guys do that? DID you? Thanks! I mean, if it was you.


Now for a word from our sponsor. Carrie Pilby
makes a great graduation gift. Especially a college graduation gift, since it's about a recent college grad. So buy Carrie Pilby today.